EC challenges France Telecom state aid decision

18 Aug 2010

The European Commission (EC) has appealed a European court ruling from May 2010 that found France Telecom (FT) not guilty of being illegally offered EUR9 billion (USD11.3 billion) in state aid by the government. At the time, the EU’s second-highest court, the General Court, ruled that statements made by the national government to reassure FT of its support when the telco was reportedly close to bankruptcy did not in fact constitute state aid. ‘Although those statements conferred a financial advantage on France Telecom, they did not commit any state resources,’ the ruling read. The General Court’s ruling followed FT’s failure in the same court in 2009 to overturn a separate state aid decision forcing it to pay as much as EUR1.1 billion in back taxes to the French government. The EC’s appeal process could take months or even years to resolve, writes La Tribune newspaper.

France, Orange Group